To Russia With Love? Elton John to Perform in Moscow
"I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully," the singer told the newspaper. "There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go."
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a measure into law this summer that bans "gay propaganda" from minors, which prohibits the LGBT community and its supporters from holding Gay Pride events and bans same-sex couples from showing displays of affection. Those who violate the law can be fined hefty sums and face jail time. Additionally, tourists who break the law can be detained up to two weeks and be kicked out of Russia.
A number of celebrities have spoken out against the law, the latest being Cher, who said that she was offered a chance to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, but turned it down over the anti-gay measure.
"I can’t name names, but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show," Cher said. "I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there."
Before the law impacted all of Russia, both Lady Gaga and Madonna performed in St. Petersburg last year, which did enforce its own "homosexual propaganda" law. In August Russian officials said they will investigate Mother Monster’s performance and whether or not she violated the anti-gay law. Additionally, Russian activists who support the law sued Madonna days after her show, claiming they were offended by her gay rights support.
Though John says he’s "got to go" to Russia, America Blog writes, "there is a healthy debate as to what the best way is to influence Russia’s government, but simply showing up in Moscow and permitting them to use you as a poster-boy of hate is no one’s idea of the best approach.
"No one wants to see the Russian government use the world’s most famous gay as proof that they’re really not anti-gay at all, and that their anti-gay ’propaganda’ law, and the proposed law to take children away from gay parents, aren’t really that bad because, hey, gay Elton is coming to sing! So what about all the young gay kids getting kidnapped, raped and murdered!" the site writes.
The site also points out that the singer isn’t a stranger to playing controversial events: He performed at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding and at South Africa’s Sun City resort in the early 80s when "much of the world was boycotting the country’s apartheid system of government," America Blog writes.
The site then questions whether or not John will even bring up LGBT rights during his show, which takes place just a few months before the 2014 Winter Games. If he does, he could be violating the law.